ENV BIOL 2005 - Ecology for Engineers II

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2022

This course aims to teach students the core principles of modern ecology, to provide basic skills for the conduct of field studies, and to foster the development of scientific analysis of ecological systems. The topics are integrated into a conceptual framework that will allow students the analysis of real situations. Topics include the description and study of biological populations and communities, the factors that determine their properties and dynamics, the properties of fragmented systems, the patterns and consequences of species diversity, and the biotic and abiotic factors that control the dynamics of ecological systems. Case studies are used to illustrate the underlying theory, and the application of the ecological theory to the management of natural resources for exploitation and conservation. The course is relevant for students interested in furthering their understanding of the basic ecological principles, in the management of rangelands, fisheries, forests, and human made systems, and in the conservation of natural ecosystems. Details of field trip communicated at start of the course.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ENV BIOL 2005
    Course Ecology for Engineers II
    Coordinating Unit School of Biological Sciences
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 5 hours per week, plus field trip
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Incompatible ENV BIOL 2502 and ENV BIOL 2003
    Restrictions Available to BEng students only, or by permission of the Course Coordinator
    Assessment Assignments and/or exam - further details available at beginning of Semester
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Ivan Nagelkerken

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    A successful student in this course should be able to:
    1 Understand and apply fundamental ecological concepts;
    2 Analyse simple ecological problems using conceptual frameworks
    3 Understand the basic requirements of the design of ecological studies
    4 Interpret graphs and tables reporting results of ecological studies
    5 Demonstrate knowledge of the basic statistical tools used to analyse the dataobtained in ecological studies
    6 Conduct simple searches of ecological literature in journals devoted tothe discipline of Ecology
    7 Report results of ecological studies in a clear, precise, and succinctway.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.

    2, 5, 6, 7
  • Learning Resources
    Recommended Resources

    There is no textbook required for this course. While many books provide a good coverage of the main topics approached during lectures, they are not an alternative to attending to the lectures and taking good notes.

    Most advances Ecology textbooks provide a reasonable coverage of the topics included in the course, but the emphases and examples will be determined by the lecturers. Reading the same topic from different sources is recommended for better understanding of complex concepts. Some books worth considering are:

    Krebs, C. J. Ecology. The experimental analysis of distribution and abundance. 5th edition. Benjamin Cummings.
    Morin, P.J. Community Ecology. Blackwell Science.
    Attwill, P. and B. Wilson (eds.). Ecology. An Australian perspective. 2nd edition. Oxford.
    Begon, M. Townsend, C.A. and J.L. Harper. Ecology: From Individuals to Ecosystems, 4th edition. Blackwell Science

    Lecture outlines and recordings of the actual lectures will be available through MyMedia. Please note that this material (particularly Lecture outlines alone) is not an alternative to attendance at lectures. For specific aspects of the course there will be Discussion Boards set up in MyUni. Their use is strongly encouraged to enhance the learning experience.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course uses a combination of lectures, practicals and field work. Attendance at lectures is highly recommended. There is a component of directed practicals (sampling and data analyses) and directed group field work followed by independent reporting.

    Lectures: 2 x 1-hour lectures per week

    Practicals: 1 x 3-hour practical per week - selected weeks only

    Field Trips: 3 x one-day field trips - selected weeks only. Students unable to attend field trips will receive an alternative desk-top assignment.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A student enrolled in a 3 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 12 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required for the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).

    Learning Activities Summary
    Week 1 Sampling and experimental design
    Week 2 Population dynamics
    Week 3 Population structure
    Week 4 Community dynamics
    Week 5 Factors that control diversity
    Week 6 Resources, competition & Predation
    Week 7 Food webs and trophic interactions
    Week 8 Nutrients and energy in the ecosystem
    Week 9 Ecosystem management: freshwater ecology
    Week 10 Spatial ecology
    Week 11 Ecological management / TERN
    Week 12 Spatial ecological processing

    Field Trips
    3 x one-day field trip (dates to be announced at start of the course)

    Week 1 Sampling ecological systems
    Week 3 Managing data
    Week 5 Statistical analyses
    Week 9 Scales of ecological patterns, drone mission
    Week 11 GIS and spatial data
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Hurdle Weighting Learning Outcome
    Final Exam Summative


    40% 1,2,4
    Practicals Formative No 40% 3,4,5,6
    Desktop Report Formative/ Summative No 20% 3,4,5,6,7
    Assessment Detail
    There will be four lab quizzes in practical sessions that will be worth a total of 40%. Quizzes will be short answer written quizzes ~20 minutes in duration. Written feedback will be provided in the following practical.

    Field report (or Desktop assignment)
    There will be a field report and a field trip diary worth 20% in total. Assignments are to be submitted using TurnItIn. Students unable to attend field trips will receive an alternative desk-top assignment. 

    A 3-hour exam at the end of semester exam period which will draw on material from both lectures and practicals. It will require simple
    calculations, but it will not involve computing.
    Late Submission

    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply.  A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that the assignment is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days late or more without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the marks available for that assignment.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.